The new bestselling novel from international literary phenomenon Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist. `Love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer...' So says Maria, a young Brazilian girl convinced from an early age that she will never find true love. A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, but the glittering life she hoped for was a fantasy. The reality - selling herself to survive - is a dehumanising grind that pushes her further away from real love, towards a fascination with pure physical pleasure. But when her emotional barriers are tested by a handsome young painter, she must choose between the dark path she is on and risking everything to find her `inner light'. Can she move beyond the meeting of minds or even souls - to a place where sex itself is sacred? A daring modern fable about the nature of love and sex.